Throughout the year, particularly the spring and summer months, bikers and walkers can often be found enjoying the multitude of trails in the DFW area. From winding paths through wooded park areas to those that loop around town, trails provide residents safe routes for exercise and alternate ways of transportation.
More and more, nature trails are seen as a selling point for master communities and residential developments that benefit everyone involved, including the City, developer, and the residents. Developers for residential master plans are now beginning to incorporate soft surface nature trails into the design of their communities that allow residents to easily ride or hike to other parts of their neighborhood or town.
Different from sidewalks, soft surface nature trails (commonly referred to as singletrack) are sustainably constructed to work with the land. Instead of concrete or pavement, the trail is designed to be built into the earth, making for a softer – and more affordable – trail option. These types of trails also allow developers to put land to use that can’t be developed, such as floodplains or land that is too steep to build upon.
Larry Colvin, a Senior Landscape and Civil Designer at BHB, has designed many nature trails for local organizations, residential developments, and master-planned communities. Not only does Larry like designing trails, but he also enjoys putting them to use, and can often be found riding on trails he helped create. An avid mountain biker and President of the Weatherford Mountain Bike Club (WMBC), Larry’s designs are based on his own experiences from biking on trails across Texas.
“Soft surface nature trails have a huge impact on communities and can provide a return on investment for developers and cities in just a few years, if not months,” said Larry. “With the addition of neighborhood nature trails, people can ride their bike, take a hike, or explore the outdoors from their home without ever having to get in a car.”
Here at BHB, we have strategically designed many different types of soft surface nature trails for both publicly and privately funded projects. We work with developers and cities to come up with a park master plan so that trails seamlessly become part of the community.
“Cities have a great opportunity to partner with developers for the addition of nature trails,” said Larry. For example, if a developer wants to put a subdivision on 100 acres, and 40 of it is in a floodplain, the city can come in and work with them to create an amenity for the public on the property that the developer can’t use. That’s where BHB comes in. We design trails to connect people with the natural world, while adding value to their lives and to that of the development. In turn, this helps sell homes and lots, while creating something the whole community can use.”
Larry and the BHB team have designed trails across DFW. Recent projects include providing pro-bono services to the WMBC to design the Quanah Hill nature trail; winding trails in the new residential development of Parks of Aledo; and BHB’s biggest trail project to date: 10 miles of hike and bike trails at the Endeavor Bridgeport Adventure Park in Bridgeport, Texas.
To learn more about soft surface nature trails and how BHB can help improve your community or residential development, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.